Everyone hates the IRS, right? Certainly, navigating the tax bureaucracy is a chore that almost no one looks forward to. That’s what your accountants are for.
However, there are a lot of great tax resources, for people who don’t have an accountant, or have a problem that their accountant can’t help them with. Below are a few of the IRS tax resources that I’ve used, which are available for free.
Where’s My Amended Return?
If you’ve filed an amended return, you should know that you’re going to be waiting a long time. At the time of this writing, the IRS’ website stated that an amended return will:
Take up to 3 weeks after you’ve mailed it to show up in the IRS’ system
Take up to 16 weeks to process
Of course, there’s a caveat that paper based correspondence & forms (like any amended return before 2019) is taking even longer to process due to COVID-19’s impact on the IRS. With that said, you can still go to the IRS’ website to find the status of your amended return.
You will need your Social Security number, date of birth, and zip code.
Where’s My Refund?
Similar to finding your amended return, you can use the IRS website to find out where your refund is for your most recently filed tax return.
Simply go to the ‘Get Refund Status’ page on the IRS website. From there, you will need:
Social Security Number
Exact amount of the refund shown on your tax return
Tax Withholding Estimator
Are you afraid that you’re getting too big of a refund, or owe too much at tax time? What if you know that you need to make an adjustment to your paycheck but you’re not sure what to put on your Form W-4?
If that’s the case, the IRS has a tax withholding estimator that can walk you through your tax situation so you can properly fill out your W-4. Simply go to the tax withholding estimator site, where the IRS will prompt you with questions about your tax situation and make a recommendation for you.
Small Business & Self-Employed Tax Center
Are you a small business owner or self-employed? If so, you might seriously consider hiring professional help so that you can focus on the things that you are best at.
But if you need IRS assistance, you can go to the Small Business & Self-Employed Tax Center website. On that page, you’ll find resources such as:
Information for business owners
Help preparing, then filing & paying taxes
Guidance on owning a business
Other topics, such as taxes for gig workers
There are a variety of formats, from articles & publications to an online learning portal with videos so you can learn about things that might apply to you.
Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts
Tax scams are a major source of identity theft and fraud against taxpayers. The IRS is always putting out new guidance about these scams so that people are more aware of what to look out for.
You can go to the IRS website to keep on top of the latest tax scams and consumer alerts. Of particular importance is the article about how to tell whether it’s really the IRS calling or knocking on your door.
Tax Relief In Disaster Situations
While the federal government has always tried to provide tax relief to victims of natural disasters, recent law changes have made it important to know where you stand as a taxpayer.
In order to minimize confusion, the IRS puts out guidance on tax relief for each natural disaster. You can get all of the latest information on the IRS’ tax relief in disaster situations page.
Resources to Help You Prepare Your Tax Return & Resolve Tax Disputes
If your tax return is very simple, or if you otherwise qualify, you might be able to receive free help in preparing your tax return. If you want to find a reputable tax preparer, or prepare your own return, you can find all of this information on the IRS resource page to help you prepare your tax return and solve tax disputes.
Resources For Tax Professionals
While this page is intended for tax professionals so they can stay on top of the latest technical information, it certainly isn’t only for tax professionals.
If you’re researching a long-tail subject that your CPA has no idea about, or you want to dig deep into the tax code, Internal Revenue Bulletins (IRS rulings based on tax law) or tax court decisions, you can find them on this resource page for tax professionals.
Taxpayer Advocate Service
The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is one of the most underutilized resources available to the taxpayer. The TAS is an independent office within the IRS that represents the taxpayer. This is especially true when it comes to holding the IRS accountable to its own standards, practices, and procedures. The TAS ensures that as a taxpayer, you are treated in a uniform matter, regardless of who you are.
You can find out more about the TAS here.
If you’ve lost your tax return, or if you need a copy for any reason, you can order a copy via ‘Get Transcript.’
To do this online, you will need:
Social Security Number
Date of Birth
Personal account number from a credit card, mortgage, or other debt
Mobile phone with your name on the account.
You can also get a copy via mail, where you only need the first 4 items, and the transcript will be mailed to your filing address.
The IRS has plenty of tax resources for people who are trying to get a handle on their tax situation.
If you are interested in learning more about how tax planning might impact your overall financial situation, please feel free to check out the tax planning articles on our blog.
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